“I’m going to retire,” Parker said during the interview with Spears. “I decided that I’m not going to play basketball anymore.”
Parker was the 28th overall pick by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1st round of the 2001 NBA Draft, and will step away from the game 2 seasons short of his stated goal of wanting to play 20 seasons in the NBA.
Parker formed one of the most iconic trios in NBA history with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobily, under head coach Gregg Popovich, during his tenure with the Spurs, and together they won 4 championships while Parker became the first European player to win the NBA Finals MVP award, when he did so in 2007.
Parker finishes his career with career averages of 15.5 points, 5.6 assists and 2.7 rebounds, 6 All-Star selections, and playing all but one season with the Spurs.
Parker, 37, signed with the Charlotte Hornets for the 2018-2019 season.
While Parker says his body can handle another 2 seasons in the NBA, he feels it’s time to walk away from the game.
“A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision,” Parker said. “But, at the end of the day, I was like, if I can’t be Tony Parker anymore and I can’t play for a championship, I don’t want to play basketball anymore.”
Parker already has his post-NBA career plans in place as he plans to live in San Antonio post-retirement but will spend time in France as the owner and president of ASVEL, a French professional men’s and women’s basketball club, and is opening the Tony Parker Adequat Academy, an international school in his hometown of Lyon, France sometime in 2019.
“Last season was very different for me” Parker said of his decision to retire.
“I had a great time in Charlotte. This is very different for me after 17 years with the Spurs. And so I knew that the time changed, and I was being very nostalgic.
And being away from the family back in San Antonio, too, that played a little bit of a role [in retiring], and so I came to a conclusion that it was just time to move on. I have a lot of great stuff in my life. A beautiful family. Beautiful kids. And so I wanted to spend more time with them.”
Parker also spoke about his time with the Spurs and Hornets.
“For 17 years, every year that I started with the Spurs, I really thought that we had a good chance to win the championship” Parker said. “And so it was very weird to arrive to a team and you’re like, ‘There is no way we’re going to win the championship.’ And even if I had a great time — and the Charlotte players, they were great with me and they were great guys — at the end of the day I play basketball to win something, and it’s been like that with the [French] national team when we try to compete for a gold medal or with the Spurs to win a championship.
And if I don’t play for a championship, I feel like, why are we playing? And so that’s why it was very different for me mentally to focus and get motivated to play a game that I love, because I want to win something.”